The 1986–87 NBA season was the 41st season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning their fourth championship of the decade, beating the Boston Celtics 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.
|1986–87 NBA season|
|League||National Basketball Association|
|Duration||October 31, 1986 – April 19, 1987|
April 23 – May 30, 1987 (Playoffs)
June 2–14, 1987 (Finals)
|Number of teams||23|
|TV partner(s)||CBS, TBS|
|Top draft pick||Brad Daugherty|
|Picked by||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Top seed||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Season MVP||Magic Johnson (L.A. Lakers)|
|Top scorer||Michael Jordan (Chicago)|
|Eastern champions||Boston Celtics|
|Eastern runners-up||Detroit Pistons|
|Western champions||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Western runners-up||Seattle SuperSonics|
|Champions||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Finals MVP||Magic Johnson (L.A. Lakers)|
|Team||1985–86 coach||1986–87 coach|
|San Antonio Spurs||Cotton Fitzsimmons||Bob Weiss|
|Portland Trail Blazers||Jack Ramsay||Mike Schuler|
|Chicago Bulls||Stan Albeck||Doug Collins|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||Gene Littles||Lenny Wilkens|
|Indiana Pacers||George Irvine||Jack Ramsay|
|Golden State Warriors||Johnny Bach||George Karl|
|Team||Outgoing coach||Incoming coach|
|New York Knicks||Hubie Brown||Bob Hill|
|Phoenix Suns||John MacLeod||Dick Van Arsdale|
|Sacramento Kings||Phil Johnson||Jerry Reynolds|
- Boston Celtics' top draft pick Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose barely two days after the draft. In the wake of Micheal Ray Richardson's lifetime suspension, several NBA players were suspended for violations of the anti-drug policy; among them Houston Rockets forward Lewis Lloyd and guard Mitchell Wiggins.
- On April 17, three Phoenix Suns players (James Edwards, Jay Humphries, and Grant Gondrezick) and two former players (Gar Heard and Mike Bratz) were indicted for cocaine trafficking at a popular Phoenix nightclub. Several other players were also involved in the scandal.
- When Mychal Thompson joined the Lakers this season alongside the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and James Worthy, the Lakers became the first team to ever have four different #1 draft picks join the same team.
- The 1987 NBA All-Star Game was played at the Kingdome in Seattle, with the West defeating the East 154–149 in overtime. To the delight of the Seattle crowd, the SuperSonics' Tom Chambers won the game's MVP award. Michael Jordan won his first Slam Dunk Contest.
- This was the final NBA season for Philadelphia's Julius Erving who announced his retirement that year. NBA arenas paid tribute to Erving's retirement by staging special events for him. The New Jersey Nets, in particular, retired Erving's No. 32 jersey for his contributions with the franchise. Thus Erving became the only player to have his number retired by a team while still an active player.
- Michael Jordan joined Wilt Chamberlain as only the second player in NBA history to score 3000 points in a season. With a 37.1 ppg, Jordan also began a seven-year reign as the NBA's scoring champion, tied with Chamberlain for the league record.
- This was the last season the Lakers and Celtics matched up in the NBA Finals until 2008.
- The 1986–87 season was also known as the "Golden Era" of the NBA. The 1987 NBA season featured up to 22 Hall of Fame players such as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Bill Walton, Moses Malone, Julius Erving, Isiah Thomas, Dominique Wilkins, Charles Barkley, Akeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Alex English, Patrick Ewing, Adrian Dantley, Joe Dumars, and Dennis Rodman.
- Despite finishing with a sub-.500 record, the Seattle SuperSonics were able to upset the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets before bowing down to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals in a four-game sweep.
- In a game on February 4, 1987, the Los Angeles Lakers set two NBA records by jumping out to a 29–0 lead over the Sacramento Kings and leading by 36 points (40–4) at the end of the first quarter. The Lakers went on to win, 128–92.
- The NBA logo was prominently displayed on the uniforms for the first time (usually on the left side of the jersey; it was moved to the top rear in 2014), becoming the first sports league in North America to do so. The practice of placing the league logo on the jerseys eventually spreads to the NFL, NHL and MLB.
- Fernando Martín became the first Spanish player to play in the NBA when he debuted for the Portland Trail Blazers in December 1986. He would pave the way for future Spanish players in the league, including five-time NBA All-Star Pau Gasol.
- Los Angeles Clippers becoming the second team in NBA history to lose 70 or more games joining the 1972–73 76ers, the latter was (1992–93 Mavericks, 1997–98 Nuggets, 2009–10 Nets (including losing 18 straight games to start the season), and the 2015–16 76ers (including a record–tying 26–game losing streak also including losing 18 straight games to start the season).
- Michael Jordan becomes the first player in NBA history to accumulate over 200 steals with over 100 blocks in a season.
- Larry Bird becomes the first player in NBA history to enter the 50–40–90 club.
1986–87 NBA changesEdit
- The Milwaukee Bucks changed their uniforms removing the red areas on the side panels to their jerseys and shorts.
|New Jersey Nets||24||58||.293||35||19–22||5–36||12–12|
|New York Knicks||24||58||.293||35||18–23||6–35||8–16|
|San Antonio Spurs||28||54||.341||27||21–20||7–34||9–21|
|y-Los Angeles Lakers||65||17||.793||–||37–4||28–13||24–6|
|x-Portland Trail Blazers||49||33||.598||16||34–7||15–26||17–13|
|x-Golden State Warriors||42||40||.512||23||25–16||17–24||17–13|
|Los Angeles Clippers||12||70||.146||53||9–32||3–38||3–27|
|10||New Jersey Nets||24||58||.293||35|
|11||New York Knicks||24||58||.293||35|
|1||z-Los Angeles Lakers||65||17||.793||–|
|3||x-Portland Trail Blazers||49||33||.598||16|
|5||x-Golden State Warriors||42||40||.512||23|
|11||San Antonio Spurs||28||54||.341||37|
|12||Los Angeles Clippers||12||70||.146||53|
- z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs
- c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs
- y – Clinched division title
- x – Clinched playoff spot
Teams in bold advanced to the next round. The numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, and the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not necessarily belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record; teams enjoying the home advantage are shown in italics.
|First Round||Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||NBA Finals|
* Division winner
Bold Series winner
Italic Team with home-court advantage
|Points per game||Michael Jordan||Chicago Bulls||37.1|
|Rebounds per game||Charles Barkley||Philadelphia 76ers||14.6|
|Assists per game||Magic Johnson||Los Angeles Lakers||12.2|
|Steals per game||Alvin Robertson||San Antonio Spurs||3.21|
|Blocks per game||Mark Eaton||Utah Jazz||4.06|
|FG%||Kevin McHale||Boston Celtics||.604|
|FT%||Larry Bird||Boston Celtics||.910|
|3FG%||Kiki Vandeweghe||Portland Trail Blazers||.481|
- Most Valuable Player: Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
- Rookie of the Year: Chuck Person, Indiana Pacers
- Defensive Player of the Year: Michael Cooper, Los Angeles Lakers
- Sixth Man of the Year: Ricky Pierce, Milwaukee Bucks
- Most Improved Player: Dale Ellis, Seattle SuperSonics
- Coach of the Year: Mike Schuler, Portland Trail Blazers
Player of the weekEdit
The following players were named NBA Player of the Week.
Player of the monthEdit
The following players were named NBA Player of the Month.
|November||Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls)|
|December||Magic Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers)|
|January||Charles Barkley (Philadelphia 76ers)|
|February||Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls)|
|March||Magic Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers)|
Rookie of the monthEdit
The following players were named NBA Rookie of the Month.
|November||Chuck Person (Indiana Pacers)|
|December||Ron Harper (Cleveland Cavaliers)|
|January||Ron Harper (Cleveland Cavaliers)|
|February||Chuck Person (Indiana Pacers)|
|March||Brad Daugherty (Cleveland Cavaliers)|
Coach of the monthEdit
The following coaches were named NBA Coach of the Month.
|November||Pat Riley (Los Angeles Lakers)|
|December||Frank Layden (Utah Jazz)|
|January||Bill Fitch (Houston Rockets)|
|February||Mike Schuler (Portland Trail Blazers)|
|March||George Karl (Golden State Warriors)|
- AP. "3 SUNS PLAYERS ARE INDICTED IN DRUG INVESTIGATION". nytimes.com. Archived from the original on 6 November 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
- Services, From Times Wire (9 May 1987). "More NBA Players Linked to Arizona Drug/Gambling Probe". Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2018 – via LA Times.
- "Twin Towers On The Rise". Sports Illustrated. 65 (18). November 3, 1986. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
- "NBA Playoffs : Hot Sonics Beat Rockets in Overtime, 111–106". Los Angeles Times. Times Wire Services. May 3, 1987. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
- "N.B.A. Playoffs; Mavericks Eliminated By Sonics". New York Times. Associated Press. May 1, 1987. Archived from the original on May 24, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2013.